You’ve been training hard and have been adhering to your SUF plan but you are not feeling quite right. You are having trouble hitting your numbers in your key workouts.Your perceived exertion is high and heart rate is low. Your legs are sluggish. What should you do? Work harder? Just “suck it up buttercup”? In reality the answer is most likely, you need more recovery.
Recovery and rest in any training plan are the keys to improving fitness and performance. After a period of overload, the body’s ability to adapt and grow stronger is facilitated by a period of adequate deloading. How much recovery do you need to absorb all the hard training? The answer is highly individualized and is based on factors such as:
A training plan can look great on paper with adequate recovery built in, but it doesn’t know you and your lifestyle. You can be doing all the right things, getting 7-9hrs of sleep per night, proper nutrition, getting plenty of fluids and electrolytes, consistent training and in great health and still have trouble with hitting your training numbers and feeling strong. The reason might be excess stress. You cannot compartmentalize the stress of training and the stress of daily life. They are cumulative. Your body does not distinguish the difference between the stress of training and the stress of life’s daily hassles and demands. Improving recovery by utilizing stress management tools and supplemental recovery aids can help, such as:
Easy exercise (extra recovery)
cool/warm contrast baths
If you are going through a period of increased stress, adding more recovery into your training plan may help. Don’t be afraid to go from a 3 weeks on/ 1 week recovery plan to a 2 on/1 off. You may actually improve more by doing so. Here are a few ways to objectively and subjectively measure your recovery by tracking:
Morning resting heart rate (RHR)
Heart Rate Variability (HRV)
POMS 2 (Profile of Mood States)
Keep in mind that your training should fit into your life not the other way around. We are all in this to be as fit and healthy as possible.
What do you do to keep your stress levels in check to maximize your recovery?